Henry Hank wrote:At the very least, the Pens need wingers that are skilled enough to take advantage of Crosby and Malkin. Those two are good enough that they will make their linemates better than they really are. In that criteria, I don't think the Pens are in terrible shape. Colby played at around a ~30 goal pace for a full season. Hilbert's goal production increased drastically once he got here. I believe Crosby and Malkin are good enough to make Armstrong, Hilbert, Christensen, and Malone 30 goal scorers, and that's not necessarily anything to scoff at. Clearly, to take things to the next level, they need their Cheecho. That's definitely one thing separating the current team from a real Cup contender.
As it is, I still don't think the offense will be a problem next year, even with the guys we've got. That's of course assuming Malkin's here (and I will continue to assume that). The Pens had no trouble scoring over the last couple months of the season, and that was without Malkin. I think they're going to have one of the better offenses in the NHL, and I don't believe that's an overestimate. The only team that can really match our 1-2 punch at center of Crosby and Malkin are the Sharks with Thornton and Marleau, and I'd still probably take our guys. Offense isn't a mega problem right now, and it never will be as long as we've got world class centers like Crosby and Malkin. If anything holds this team back from the playoffs next season (again, assuming Malkin's here), it's defense and goaltending.
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